The Old Testament is a fascinating part of the church’s heritage. It rewards close reading and prayerful study. Many of us—both in and outside of Christianity—know some of the stories, but we lack a clear portrait of the Old Testament as a whole.
Modern approaches to history, archaeology, and literature have revolutionized how specialists see ancient Israel, early Judaism, and the formation of the Old Testament. But most of us aren’t specialists, and their insights are often not pulpit-friendly.
This class is designed to help you teach, preach, and live the Old Testament as a theological story. Borrowing from archaeology, we’ll describe the Bible as layers, from older to newer, deposited by people of faith for future generations’ use. Each new layer borrows from older ones. No individual or community ever quite owns or controls these layers, not even the one they so carefully created.
The layers are: Creation, Election, Torah, Exile, Wisdom, and End Times.
Our wise guide (via our readings) is retired Professor James Kugel, an Orthodox Jew and storyteller.
- A study or reference Bible - The Harper Collins Study Bible or the Jewish Study Bible are both great options.
- How to Read the Bible by James E. Kugel.
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: Mondays, 7 - 8pm: October 11, 18, 25, and November 1, 8, 22, 2021.
Instructor contact: The Rev. John Bellaimey: Bellaimey@gmail.com
Creeds encapsulate Christian beliefs; they also attempt to quell theological controversy. This course examines the historical origins of the Nicene and Apostles Creeds with special attention to the theological conflicts that animated their formulations. After treating the original contexts in which the creeds were developed, the course will investigate contemporary Christian attitudes toward the creeds. During the term, we will see that creeds function as brief “systematic theologies.” In other words, creeds succinctly express intricate understandings of God and God’s relationship with human beings. Topics covered include Christology, Pneumatology (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit), Trinitarian Theology, Doctrine of Creation, Anthropology, Sin, Grace, Soteriology, Atonement, and Eschatology. It will be evident during our explorations that the creeds not only articulate what Christians believe; they also shape Christian life.
- McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Fifth edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. (ISBN: 1444335146)
- McGrath, Alister, ed. The Christian Theology Reader. Fourth edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. (ISBN: 0470654848)
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: 6:30-8:00PM Central Time, Tuesday evenings, October 19, November 2, 16, 23, 2021.
Instructor: Mark McInroy, M.Div, Th.D., Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of St. Thomas. email@example.com
New in 2021, this colloquy is required of all in formation for the diaconate and the priesthood, and runs parallel to the contextual education internship.
August 16, 2021: Begin a practice of quarterly 1:1 check-ins with the Contextual Education Director.
The colloquy group meetings will occur in two sections:
October 1 – December 20, 2021: Weekly Colloquy meetings, 90 minutes, on Thursdays at a time determined by the group. Discussions will include Scott Cormode’s The Innovative Church, the context of your internship site, and your own learning goals
January 17 – April 17, 2022: In smaller groups by order, weekly colloquy meetings will focus on case studies from the internship sites presented in rotation by participants. Deacons and priests will connect their own learning and role to the ordination vows for their order.
This course replaces the ‘Missional Lab’ courses previously offered by the School for Formation. Those who completed their internship in 2020-21 but still need credit for the Missional Lab can join in the January 17 – April 17 section of the Colloquy.
Contextual Education Director: The Rev. Cindi Brickson [insert fancy ecmn email here]
Required Readings: The Innovative Church by Scott Cormode
- Teacher: Cindi Brickson
How can existing faith communities use their resources for creative experiments in meeting God in their neighbors and neighborhoods? How can your faith community escape the pattern of scarcity to realize God’s dream for your congregation? What the heck is ‘missional management’ anyway?
Join this seven-week online course exploring the foundations and supporting structures for movements and institutions engaged in God’s mission.
Vestries, administrators, clergy, those in formation for leadership, and anyone who seeks to help their faith community move beyond maintenance and into mission are encouraged to join this course.
Readings will be posted on the course Moodle page, which can be accessed once the course begins.
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: 7-8:30pm Central Time, Tuesdays, October 12, 26, November 2, 16, 2021.
Instructor: The Rev. Eileen Shanley-Roberts, Bexley+Seabury Seminary Federation
This introductory course will explore the Book of Common Prayer from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Students will learn about the historical development of the Book of Common Prayer from the English Reformation onward; explore the theological, missional, and ecclesiological claims of the Prayer Book; develop skills to appropriate and inculturate the Prayer Book tradition in local contexts; and discover the richness of the Prayer Book as a resource and frame for personal Anglican spiritual piety as well as public Anglican witness. Students will walk away from this class with a greater understanding and appreciation of the Anglican Prayer Book tradition as well with new skills to engage it as a wholistic liturgical system.
- Patrick Malloy. Celebrating the Eucharist: A Practical Ceremonial Guide for Clergy and Other Liturgical Ministers. Church Publishing: New York, 2007.
- Leonel Mitchell and Ruth Meyers. Praying Shapes Believing: A Theological Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer, Revised Ed. Seabury Books: New York, 2016.
- Derek Olsen. Inwardly Digest: The Prayer Book as Guide to a Spiritual Life. Forward Movement: Cleveland, 2016.
- Joseph S. Pagano and Amy E. Richter. Common Prayer: Reflections on Episcopal Worship. Cascade Books: Eugene, 2019.
- Ruth Meyers. Missional Worship, Worshipful Mission: Gathering as God’s People, Going Out in God’s Name. William B. Eerdmans Publishing: Grand Rapids, 2014.
- Marcus Halley. Proclaim!: Sharing Words, Living Examples, Changing Lives. Church Publishing: New York, 2020.
- Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: 6:30 - 8:30pm Central Time, Monday evenings, November 15, 29; December 13, 2021.
Instructor contact: The Reverend Marcus George Halley, Instructor firstname.lastname@example.org
- Teacher: Marcus Halley
From serving lasagna at the potluck to praying at a hospital bedside, pastoral care happens in contexts that are the most mundane, and the most critical, in our faith communities. This course is designed to introduce you to pastoral care and the issues that commonly arise in pastoral ministry. Our goal is to address topics that are directly relevant and applicable to your real-life ministry work. Through readings, discussion, and self-reflective exercises, you will:
- Increase your understanding of the essence of pastoral care.
- Identify theological, scientific and awareness resources for future use in pastoral care
- Deepen self-reflection awareness and skills needed to provide thoughtful pastoral care
- Bible – New Standard Revised Version (NSRV)
- Barter, Dominic (2009, Nov) “Empathy is like a superfood.” Video posted online.
- Roberts, S. (Ed). (2012). Professional spiritual and pastoral care: A practical clergy and chaplain’s handbook. Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths.*Note: This book was written for clergy and chaplains and provides supportive and concrete resources for both contexts. Throughout the book, we recognize the term “chaplain” is used in contexts that are also applicable to clergy. So, you should read with an eye for connections between the two.
- Tillich, P. (1948). “You are Accepted.” In Tillich, P. Shaking of the Foundations. New York City: C. Scribner Sons. Note: Copies of this sermon can be located in several sites on the internet. Please let us know if you need assistance in locating.
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: Tuesdays, 5:30 - 7pm, November 9, 30, December 7, 14, 2021.
Instructor contact: Cindy Halvorson, MDiv, DMin, Staff Consultant, LeaderWise
What is the church here for? How can we understand mission in a world in which the church no longer holds cultural privilege? What is God up to in the neighborhood and how are we gifted and called to join in God’s mission to and for the world? What does
the shape of God’s life in Trinity mean for how we engage our neighbors? This course will explore biblical and theological understandings of mission as we seek to understand the church’s identity and purpose in a post-establishment, post-colonial
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: August 23, August 30, September 20, September 27 from 7:00-8:30 PM.
As a student, you will:
- Develop a working understanding of the Trinitarian theological basis for missional church
- Try out and reflect on disruptive practices that can help any church focus on God’s mission
- Gain familiarity with the Christendom’s legacy and a sense of how things are today where you live
- Begin to articulate a leadership approach to your congregational setting
- People of the Way by Dwight Zscheile
- Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood by Alan Roxburgh
- Teacher: Dan Anderson
A sermon is a gift we offer those who listen to us.
It’s a gift that melds together God, Scripture, life experience, our listeners, the world, and all of our academic training. It’s a message that proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ, that he died, rose, and brings us into eternal life. The only way this is a gift from the heart is if we know the one we proclaim. We have to know Jesus Christ personally if we’re going to have the integrity to suggest that others will want to know him better, too, and that through him, the world can be transformed.
This is where we start with preaching. This course will focus on Lectio Divina as a personal prayer practice, and as a prayerful means to build an authentic sermon. You will learn to read the text as if you’ve never seen it before, to notice what piques your curiosity and makes you want to dig deeper to learn more, and then to tell a story about it. This is a way to craft a message that you believe and that others will believe, too.
Preaching is an art form, too, like no other.
Preaching is not a performance, nor is it a persuasive speech, and yet many of the elements of those disciplines are part of effective sermons. They all have clarity of message and purpose; they’re crafted for a particular group of people at a particular time from a particular point of view; they hope to keep the attention of the audience and try to make themselves as easy as possible to follow so no one gets lost along the way.
Preaching does all this, while looking at the gap between God’s invitation to join in building the Kingdom, and all our various refusals to do so. What is it about us that turns God down time and time again? Preaching also explores grace. We turn God down, yet Jesus loves and forgives us anyway. How come? And what difference does it make anyway? These are all aspects of crafting an effective, authentic sermon.
In this course, we will move from listening to God’s word for us to practical methods of offering words of Good News to others in a sermon. We will follow a grid that moves us from Belief Statement (‘What is the Good News I believe?’) and Hope Statement (‘Why does it matter that others believe this?’) to the Human Condition (‘What stands in our way of believing?’) and the Invitation to Transformation (‘What does God want us to say ‘yes’ to?’).
At the end of this course, you’ll have had enough practice with these tools that you’ll be able to hear the parts of sermons that work and don’t work; continue to use these tools on your own and with others; and know how to continue to develop your sermon craft.
This group will meet and post regularly in a closed Mighty Networks group (NOT here on Moodle), including participants from local formation programs across the Episcopal Church. If you have any difficulties, you can email Lisa Cressman at email@example.com
All Zoom meetings will originate in the Mighty Networks group (just show up there and click to begin!).
Each week you will be participating in a responsive discussion with students from across the country, and connecting with a mentor around specific questions. You’ll produce two sermon texts and videos.
A key competency for this course is the ability to record video of yourself, using a cell phone or other tech.
Course Orientation: Tuesday Aug 10 6pm - Strongly recommended, will be recorded
Online Boot Camp: Sunday August 15 - Thursday August 19, 2021 | 6pm CT -7:00pm CT Daily. Participants should plan on 2-3 hours daily during Bootcamp for the live session, video, and sermon prep.
Course continues with zoom calls weekly, Tuesdays, 6 - 7pm CT, Aug 24th - Sept 21. Participants should plan on about three hours per week including the live session, reading, videos, and chat discussion.
Videoconferences: Tuesdays at 7pm
- Video series accessible in your online course space
- A .PDF workbook to be sent by email upon registration
Instructor: The Rev. Dr. Lisa Cressman
What’s the difference between pastoral care and pastoral counseling? What challenges arise in pastoral counseling encounters, and how can those doing pastoral ministry build their resilience for the long haul? This course is ideal for those who have taken the Introduction to Pastoral Care course, and anyone seeking to gain a greater understanding of ways of being with people in faith communities to promote and maintain connectedness.
Through readings, discussion, and self-reflective activities, you will:
- Focus on human awareness from the perspective of your own self-awareness.
- Enhance your understanding of a relational view of human existence.
- View human existence as a complex interplay of needs and inclinations that vary in the extent in to which they create connectedness versus isolation.
- Link basic helping skills to advanced topics discussed in the course.
Prerequisite: Previous completion of the School for Formation’s Introduction to Pastoral Care or similar experience is strongly suggested.
- Patton, J. (2015). Pastor as counselor: Wise presence, sacred conversation. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
- Gilbert, Roberta. (2018). The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory. Leading Systems Press.
- Additional reading materials will be made available on Moodle.
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: Thursdays, 5:30 - 7pm, August 19, September 2,September 16, September 30
Instructor: Cindy Halvorson, MDiv, DMin Consultant, LeaderWise. Cindy@leaderwise.org
This is a course that speaks to the big WHY — God’s mission. Walk through weekly videos, readings, and conversations with others on the journey to frame your understanding of what God is up to in the world, how our faith communities can join in, and the particular Episcopal vision that helps us find our part in God’s work.
Learners will be introduced to foundational ECMN tenets in being leaders in today’s Church by learning a bit about:
- Missional Theology – meeting God in the neighborhood,
- Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement – evangelism is alive and well through the witness of Jesus,
- Beloved Community – how being in relationship with all of God’s people is both critical and difficult,
- Baptismal Covenant – our charge is clear in the promises we’ve made; and
- Through the lenses of all the above, how the Ministry of All the Baptized live out their call in the uniqueness of each of the Four Orders of the Episcopal Church: laity, deacons, priests and bishops.
Book list: To be announced
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: To be announced
Instructor: Karen Olson, Missioner for Ministry
Take the next step into racial reconciliation by building bridges across culture and race.
This course builds on the work of listening and storytelling from the 2016 Convention of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Meaningful steps toward dismantling racism start with understanding our own cultural lens and learning to listen deeply in relationship with others.
This course trains you to build your ability to recognize and reconstruct your own cultural and racial bias. Through the Intercultural Development Inventory assessment, learning plan and one-on-one coaching, you’ll gain increased awareness, understanding, and skills in navigating race and culture.
The course incorporates materials and mixed methodology for living effectively in cultural and racially diverse settings. The School for Formation offers this course through a partnership with Webb and Carroll Consultants. Richard Webb and Carrie Carroll offer this course out of their expertise and experience in helping Christian organizations improve cultural and racial competencies.
- The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese A. Singh
- Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism In America, Catherine Meeks, ed.
Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: Wednesday evenings, 6:30 - 8pm CT, September 15, 29, October 13, 27, 2021
Instructors: Richard Webb M.Ed. and Carrie Carroll M.A.